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Hells Angels sentenced over string of offences

Members of the Hells Angels were on hand for the court decision in Bellinzona Keystone

Suspended sentences have been handed down to the former head of the Zurich chapter of the Hells Angels and two other members, ending a case brought by the Federal Prosecutor almost ten years ago. Charges against a fourth member were dismissed.

At the Federal Criminal Court on Tuesday the former president of the Zurich chapter of the Hells Angels received a two-year suspended prison sentence for marijuana transport and dealing, attempted blackmail, illegal restraint and kidnapping.

A Lausanne-based Hells Angel received  a ten month suspended prison sentence for helping transport marijuana, and a third member of the motorcycle group, from German-speaking Switzerland, received a suspended fine of SFr7,200 ($7,751) for attempted kidnapping and illegal restraint.

Those sentenced had been accused of harvesting and selling a portion of a crop of several hundred kilograms of cannabis in the Aarberg region of canton Bern.

Charges were dismissed against the fourth group member, who was  awarded compensation of SFr9,800.

Prosecutors had sought harder sentences against the club president.

The four members had been charged following a federal investigation in 2003 and 2004 which was unable to prove through wire-tapping and surveillance that the Zurich motorcycle club had been involved in organised crime.

“Suspicions that the Hells Angels, or at least a core group of the club, act as a crime syndicate could not be corroborated,” the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said at the time.

The Zurich Hells Angels club was founded in 1970 as one of the first European chapters.

The Hells Angels, founded in the United States in 1948, is referred to as an “Outlaw Motorcycle Gang” by the US Department of Justice.

The motto of the worldwide organisation is: “When we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong, nobody forgets.”

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR